Sen Bernie Sanders (R) Sec Hillary Clinton (L) the two contestants in the Democratic presidential primaries.
Hillary Clinton beats Bernie Sanders in desert heat
Hillary Clinton beats back a surprisingly stiff challenge from rival Bernie Sanders, Saturday, to win a close race in Nevada’s Democratic presidential caucuses.
Photo: David Calvert/Getty Images
Hillary Clinton greets supporters following a campaign rally in Reno, Nevada
With 68% of the votes counted, Mrs. Clinton had a 52.2% lead compared with 47.7% for the Vermont senator.
“To everyone who turned out in every corner of Nevada with determination and heart: This is your win. Thank you,” Mrs. Clinton said on Twitter, moments after the race was called.
The victory was a major relief for the Clinton campaign and allows the former secretary of state to move on to contests in South Carolina Saturday and the states that follow with fresh momentum after being walloped in New Hampshire and winning by only the slimmest of margins in Iowa.
Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, was nearby at the Caesars Palace hotel on the Las Vegas strip. “We’re doing everything we can,” he said. “We got a good response.”
Mrs. Clinton had long been considered the favorite in Nevada. But Mr. Sanders’ 22-point victory margin in New Hampshire gave him significant momentum. An infusion of donations also allowed him to put staff on the ground and television ads on the air.
Earlier, walking into his polling precinct at a middle school in Henderson, Nev., Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said he would vote uncommitted, to stay neutral in the race. “Everyone knows the caucus setup here in Nevada are my doing,” said Mr. Reid, who was instrumental in moving the Nevada caucuses to the forefront of the nominating process.
“I want to make sure that Clinton and Sanders know that I’ve been fair. If I got involved on one side or another, it would be easy for them to say, you know he’s trying to affect the caucuses unfairly,” he said, adding that he would offer an endorsement after the caucuses are over.
Both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders made a point of spending at least part of their time in the days before the caucuses in the mountains and deserts of Nevada, away from the glam and glitter of Las Vegas.
Nevada Democratic Caucus
1,333 of 1,714 precincts reporting (78%)